Are you Breast Aware?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and it is currently estimated that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. However, it is a very treatable cancer in most women, especially if it is found in the early stages and more than 8 out of 10 women survive breast cancer.
Older women are more at risk
Older women are most at risk and about 80% of breast cancers occur in women over 50. About 1 in 3 of these women are over 70 and sadly about half of these women do not survive for a long time. This is because many older women believe that if they have not had breast cancer by the time they are 70 (or don’t have anyone in their immediate family who has had it), they are not going to get it and therefore they do not continue to go for mammograms, neither do they remember to check their breasts and many do not go to see their doctor until it is too late.
Being Breast Aware means knowing what is normal for yourself, and going to see your doctor as soon as you notice any unusual changes. Here is a list of breast changes you should check for:
A change in the size or shape of a breast
A lump or thickening that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue.
A change in skin texture such as a thickening, or puckering or dimpling of the skin
Redness or rash on or around the skin or nipple
Discharge of liquid from a nipple
A swelling in your armpit.
Constant pain in your breast or armpit
Remember most changes to your breast won’t turn out to be cancer, but it is important to get them checked out promptly with your doctor.
Reduce your risk
Whilst getting older is a fact of life, 4 out of 10 cancers are preventable and women can reduce their risk by leading a healthy lifestyle such as:
Drinking less alcohol
Maintaining a healthy weight
Staying physically active (walking to the shops, climbing stairs, gardening and housework are all physical activities).
All women between 50 and 70 years are sent an appointment every 3 years to have a mammogram. This is an X ray of the breast which can detect the earliest signs of breast cancer, even before you can see or feel any changes.
Women who are over the age of 70 may continue to have mammograms every 3 years for as long as they wish. This just means telephoning and making an appointment directly with the breast screening centre.
Floor C, Out Patients , Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Telephone 0114 271 1922
Please help spread the word and pass this information onto someone else. You never know, it could save their life.